Thursday, May 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Kenny Chesney’s lyrics of a girl having him at hello echoes across American dating landscape with people using the attractiveness of a hello to predict a possible relationship. How often have you heard someone say he had me at hello? I am usually amused to hear a few dates later that goodbye was said, often rather bitterly, with a few expletives thrown in. Most people can do a decent hello, but goodbye is the real measure of a person’s character.

Through the dating process, you find out that you and another person just don’t suit. It could be that the chemistry isn’t there. Maybe after a couple of dates initial weirdness starts popping up There is something about all his conspiracy theories or anger at his ex that just doesn’t feel right. It could be you met someone who suits you better, but in the end it is time to say goodbye.

The men I felt most enthusiastic toward as far as being a good date prospect took goodbye with grace and wished me well. I try always to be honest and polite. Never to say goodbye by text or a Dear John email or just cowardly avoiding their calls. Ironically on the other hand, I’ve had men do the disappearing act on me. They’re so interested in me then suddenly they drop all communication. I get the message and it doesn’t bother me overly much. Probably because I was dating other men and did not have my hopes and dreams pinned on one man, which isn’t the case with all women.

Going back to my trusted male friend for input, I explained that I was writing a column on saying goodbye to dates who were not a good fit. This elicited a laugh and a story about being raked over the coals by one date. After their first and only date, he decided that the chemistry wasn’t there and very politely told his date the next day that he wasn’t interesting in pursuing the relationship. She lit into him claiming he had no right to end the relationship and how he led her on by spending too much money on a first date. Maybe this is the reason online dating services recommend a coffee date first. To some women a four course meal is the equivalent to a marriage proposal.

On the other hand, I had a man wine and dine me extravagantly. We painted the town red, and yet I never went out with him again. I did not think we had a relationship or that he even owed me anything. I realized he lived very far away and was in my town for a short time and wanted to have a nice time with a pretty woman on his arm. Sometimes that is all there is to it. Really, too many people don’t get this.

I’ve had men turn on me when I refused the third date demanding answers why I wouldn’t go out with them again. When I told them I didn’t think we were a good fit, they wanted another date to prove otherwise. My trusted male friend explained by date two they felt they had an investment and were ready to move to date three—the serious date, which some men mistake for the booty call date. In turn, I was rejecting not only them, but all the work they put into the dating process. It made more sense why they were angry, but it didn’t make me want to reconsider.

Goodbyes say quite a bit about a person. The way you choose to tell a man he’s not the one characterizes who you are and your maturity level. Some women choose to pick fights over trivial issues causing the man to drop them or at least stop calling. This is so junior high. Grow up, be honest, and polite. The man no matter how much you think he is not the one for you deserves to be treated well. He did ask you out in the first place. He made an effort to get to know you and show you a nice time.

Going back to men I’ve dated and known, I am surprised at how rude women can be to men when deciding not to date them. Women will baldly tell men they don’t want to date because of his looks, his car, or his financial situation. In other words, they made the guy feel like a loser. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Not good.

Honestly, I can’t say I ever had a man treat me like that…recently. They were angry that I chose to not see them again. I had one tell me I would never find anyone who would treat me like he did. He was right I found someone who treated me better. LOL. Men can sometimes be smarter because they seldom engage in the drama. (I know some do because I read about it in the paper, but most don’t.)

How you say goodbye confirms if a man should have broken it off. Ranting or fit throwing will make him glad he got out early. A polite goodbye will help him remember you fondly and even mentioning you in a flattering manner to a friend or colleague if your name ever comes up in conversation. Don’t burn your bridges behind you. Sometimes people get back together. Would you ever want to get back with someone who acted the fool?

Watch turning stalkerish too. If you’re not going out then you should not be friends on Facebook, which is often only used to affirm that ex-boyfriends are unhappy and dating skanky women. Don’t hang out in your usual haunts hoping to accidentally bump into him. It just looks bad and everyone feels embarrassed for you. Be the better person and let your goodbyes be goodbyes by doing that you have the time and the attitude to have someone else at hello.

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